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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2016

Communication is key

By Tara Smith 11th Wing Legal Office

Effective communication is probably one of the most important life skills we need, especially in professional relationships.

I was a freelance court reporter in the civilian sector before coming to the federal government. In some ways, the life of a court reporter may seem like a lonely profession.  You visit a different location every day; cover a different proceeding every day; transcribe the record and then send the transcript out to be produced for the client. 

Imagine my surprise when I learned that working for one of the busiest legal offices in the Air Force, my job did not end once the transcript was complete.  I’ve worked with checklists, met matrix deadlines and I learned how many people actually received the Record of Trial.  In each of these aspects of the job, there were various people involved and I had to communicate with every single one of them.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  I bring that up because oftentimes we take for granted that things will magically get done without a conversation being had, an email being sent or a question being asked. 

Communication creates a proactive environment.  If you don’t know something, ask; if you have a question about something, ask; if you’re unsure about how to press forward with an issue, just ask.  No one wants to see the mission suffer due to the lack of communication. 

Communication is a skillset that can be improved on a daily basis.  Think of communication as a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger the ability becomes.  Strategies come and go, methods and techniques become outdated, but communication is always key, always important, and it never goes out of style.